The director and producer James Gay-Rees celebrate their first Academy Awards
The 88th Annual Academy Awards ended with a bit of a surprise for Best Picture: Spotlight winning over The Revenant.
But the Oscar for Best Documentary went as most prognosticators expected, to the team behind Amy, the moving film on the late singer Amy Winehouse.
What we kept hearing, from her friends, was if you're going to make this film you have to show the real girl, you have to show the real Amy. And that became like the mission.
It is the first Oscar for director Asif Kapadia and producer James Gay-Rees, who also made Senna together.
"This is amazing. Thank you to everyone in the Academy, everyone who voted for us, all the love you’ve shown to the film," Kapadia said from the stage at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.
"This is for the fans, Amy’s fans who loved her through thick and thin," Gay-Rees added. "That’s all she ever really needed."
After the ceremony, Kapadia tweeted a photo of the envelope announcing their win, and sent another Tweet that alluded to his celebrations.
Kapadia and Gay-Rees appeared backstage in the press room, following their victory. Kapadia was asked about the most surprising reaction he's noticed to his documentary.
"A lot of people, particularly in the U.S., I have to say when I first met people and talked to them, they almost summed Amy up in one word: She's a train wreck. And the biggest thing has been now people think of her in a very different way," Kapadia said. "They realize she was an amazing talent, she was so clever, she was beautiful. She was healthy, she had friends, she had people who cared for her. There's so much more to her."
"She became a bit of a punch bag, she became a bit of a bad gag in the press," Gay-Rees added. "And this film has opened people's eyes to her again."
"When I started learning about [Amy] and seeing her, I kind of fell in love with her and I really cared about her and I wanted the world to see the real girl," Kapadia said of Winehouse, who died at 27 from the effects of drug and alcohol addiction.
Kapadia said there is a cautionary aspect to his film, about the damage a vulnerable person like Winehouse can suffer when they are subjected to public ridicule.
"The film became about everyone else and how complicit we may have been -- however large or however small -- in the way we portrayed her. In the way we talked about her, the way we commented, things that were online that were easy to do about people who may be in a bad way when actually it's all a cry for help. They're waiting for someone to come in and look after them and protect them and save them. And I think that was part of the mission of the film was just next time maybe to get people to think before they put that horrible nasty tweet or whatever you write or whatever you say about someone. That's what I was hoping."
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on Deadline.com, CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and in Documentary magazine.